Top 10 shows in Norwich for 2013

Opening act of the Norfolk and Norwich Festival 2013 - Reve d' Herbert in the Close, Norwich. Photo: Steve Adams Opening act of the Norfolk and Norwich Festival 2013 - Reve d' Herbert in the Close, Norwich. Photo: Steve Adams

Monday, December 30, 2013
6:00 AM

From pantomime fun to serious drama to hit musicals - there has been a huge array of entertainment for Norwich audiences to choose from in 2013.

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Dress rehersal for the Theatre Royal 2013 pantomime, Cinderella. Baron Hardup – Christopher Ryan and Cinderella – Ruth Betteridge.
PHOTO BY SIMON FINLAYDress rehersal for the Theatre Royal 2013 pantomime, Cinderella. Baron Hardup – Christopher Ryan and Cinderella – Ruth Betteridge. PHOTO BY SIMON FINLAY

Arts correspondent Emma Knights looks at 10 great events hosted by our fine city over the past 12 months.

• Norwich Theatre Royal’s 2013/14 pantomime Cinderella sees the rags to riches fairytale set in Norwich-next-the-Sea and features lots of slapstick fun, big musical numbers and all the classic panto ingredients.

The cast includes soul diva Sheila Ferguson as the Fairy Godmother, former Hollyoaks actor Matt Milburn as Prince Charming and Ruth Betteridge as Cinderella.

Steadfast Tin Soldier puppeteer Jonny Storey at the Norwich Puppet Theatre.
PHOTO BY SIMON FINLAYSteadfast Tin Soldier puppeteer Jonny Storey at the Norwich Puppet Theatre. PHOTO BY SIMON FINLAY

The pantomime runs until Sunday, January 19.

• Spiritual spectacle How Like An Angel returned to Norwich Cathedral as part of the 2013 Norfolk and Norwich Festival.

The show featured Australian circus company Circa – who also brought their new show Beyond to the Spiegeltent for the festival – and vocal ensemble I Fagiolini.

Against the beautiful backdrop of Norwich Cathedral’s interior, it saw six acrobats ascend, contort and tumble in an ethereal display of physical daring, accompanied by a live performance of music from the 11th to the 20th century.

A Midsummer Night's Dream by the GB Theatre Company for the Shakespeare Festival at Norwich Cathedral. Picture: Denise BradleyA Midsummer Night's Dream by the GB Theatre Company for the Shakespeare Festival at Norwich Cathedral. Picture: Denise Bradley

• The Shakespeare Festival in Norwich Cathedral’s cloister this summer saw the touring GB Theatre Company entertain fans of the Bard with performances of two Shakespeare plays, A Midsummer Night’s Dream and The Merchant of Venice.

• After being a huge hit in the West End, Priscilla, Queen of the Desert embarked on a tour that stopped off at Norwich Theatre Royal in November and December.

The show, starring Jason Donovan, follows the fortunes of three friends who jump aboard a battered old bus searching for love and friendship and has a soundtrack packed with pop classics. Two local boys were cast to play Benji, the son of Tick, who is played by Jason Donovan.

• The dreamlike spectacle Reve D’Herbert (Herbert’s Dream) opened the 2013 Norfolk and Norwich Festival in style.

The free show performed by Compagnie des Quidams saw Cathedral Close transformed into a surreal fantasy world. Thousands came to watch the two opening performances that launched this year’s Norfolk and Norwich Festival in May.

• The Steadfast Tin Soldier at Norwich Puppet Theatre this festive season is a wonderfully inventive adaptation of the Hans Christian Andersen fairytale.

The show tells the tale of a tin soldier who falls in love with a beautiful paper dancer and then tumbles out of a window into a perilous journey into the unknown, and it is magically brought to life through an array of inventive paper puppets, animations and projections which puppeteer Jonny Storey interacts with.

The show runs until January 4.

• The Seagull production at the Maddermarket Theatre in November saw history repeat itself at the city venue when retired journalist David Newham - who has been in nearly 100 Maddermarket plays - appeared as Sorin in The Seagull forty years on from appearing as Medvedenko in the same Chekhov play about love, loss and art on the same city stage.

• Norwich Playhouse hosted a group of Tibetan Buddhist monks who visited Norwich in September to share their traditions.

The monks - from the Tashi Lhunpo Monastery now based in India - presented The Power of Compassion, a performance of masked dance and sacred chant, and also spent five days creating a beautiful and intricate sand mandala in the venue’s Playroom before inviting the public to take part in a special ceremony that saw the mandala swept away and scattered in the Wensum to the sounds of longhorns being played by the bridge.

• The main house play for this year’s Hostry Festival at Norwich Cathedral in the autumn was Ibsen’s A Doll’s House.

The show about the unfolding story of Nora and Torvald’s release from the untruthfulness of their life together was performed alongside a new piece of writing by Hamilton Wilson - called Starlings on the Green - which was inspired by the themes of the Ibsen play.

Mr Wilson also translated A Doll’s House for the Hostry Festival production.

• In April, part of the Sportspark at the UEA became the stage for the National Theatre of Scotland’s show Black Watch. The poignant drama, based on interviews with soldiers from the Scottish regiment who served in Iraq, was brought to the city by the Norfolk and Norwich Festival and University of East Anglia for the UEA’s 50th anniversary celebrations.

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